Morgan: Counihan right to take time

Billy Morgan has ruled out managing Cork for a fourth time but is uncertain about current incumbent Conor Counihan remaining on in the position.

The two-time All-Ireland winning manager gave short shrift to the possibility of taking the mantle he left in 2007.

“No, not a hope. I’m better off coming up (to Dublin) on a Saturday and having a few pints and enjoying the craic,” said Morgan.

Morgan believes his former selector Counihan is right to be taking time assessing his future after his fifth Championship at the helm.

However, he is undecided about whether the Aghada man should remain in charge, insisting only Counihan can make that decision.

“I think two years ago after the All-Ireland (victory), Conor was on the verge of packing it in, so I don’t know what he’ll do now. But he’s certainly right in taking his time.

“It’s hard to say what Conor should do. Is there a new voice needed in the dressing room? I don’t know. But what I would say is Cork have won three National Leagues, four if you like (including Division 2).

“They won one All-Ireland and three Munster championships so Conor has a very good record.

“People will say that, okay, he only won one All-Ireland but that seemed to be the way down the years with Cork.

“Going back to my own (playing) time in ‘73, people said that we were going to be the team of the 70s. We never won another All-Ireland. Looking back, I always regret that. Dublin and Kerry then took over. This present Cork team, they are a young team. There are a few who are on the other side of 30 but they’re a young team and there are some other good young fellas coming. I think there is a bright future ahead for Cork, whether Conor decides a new voice is needed or he wants to continue. It’s totally his decision.”

Like Counihan, Morgan felt Cork panicked to an extent against Donegal in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

He also said Fintan Goold and Patrick Kelly looked uncertain of their roles in the team while he argued Cork fell into Donegal’s trap with a catalogue of short kick-outs and an overemphasis on the hand-pass.

“In the first-half, Cork had Donncha (O’Connor) and Colm O’Neill inside. As Cork attacked, for a brief second they had space. If you delayed, the space was gone.

“Cork did put the ball in a few times and got good scores but they seemed afraid to try the long pass.

“As the game wore on, they tried it less and less. Colm looked to be on his game but there wasn’t enough ball coming in. That’s down to Donegal cutting off that space. But you need to get it in early and Cork didn’t do that enough.”

Morgan admitted he’s gone 180 degrees on his opinion of Jim McGuinness’ team. “Last year I hated watching Donegal. They have evolved and are doing nothing outside the rules. They get players back but when they win the ball they go forward in droves. They scored 16 points, and last year they were getting 10, 11 or 12.

“They are defending well at one end and scoring at the other end and you can’t knock that.”

Meanwhile, Mick O’Dwyer has also ruled himself out of inter-county management for the time being. The Waterville man was quick to take himself out of the running for the Kerry job due to family illness.

“My wife (Mary Carmel) hasn’t been well for the last nine months so I had to change my routine. I’m doing a little bit with my club in Waterville so that’s it at the moment.

“You can’t go on forever, there’s a time when you have to stop but you never know. It will all depend on my health and how I feel and that’s it.”

O’Dwyer welcomed Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s appointment as Kerry manager as well as Darragh Ó Sé’s as U21 boss: “Eamonn is a wonderfulselection. Outstanding.”


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